Are We At an Inflection Point in Our Nation?

April 22, 2021

A Message from President & CEO Wright Lassiter III

Dear Team,

There are many who are hopeful that we are at an inflection point in our nation. On Tuesday evening, we watched former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin being quietly led away in handcuffs, a jury convicting him on all counts in the death of George Floyd.

The range of emotions brought about by this verdict remain complex – certainty and confidence that justice was served, lingering sadness for the lives lost and forever changed, and hopeful optimism that the events of this week will be a catalyst for authentic change.

As we all know, George Floyd’s murder last spring triggered a national reckoning with systemic racism and police violence – erupting in protests across our nation. At the same time, the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted our communities of color in particular – at times creating the feeling that the healthcare and public health system let them down. To say our hearts were broken by both would be an understatement.

As I reflect on what we’ve experienced this past year, I am unquestionably proud and humbled to be a part of this Henry Ford team. Instead of shying away from a painful and necessary conversation, we boldly and courageously challenged ourselves to ask, “have we done enough?”

We know the answer. There is far more work to be done. The events we’ve witnessed over the past year and beyond are sobering reminders of a painful irony in which we live in America – the world’s most diverse melting pot plagued by ongoing intolerance and a failure to act on behalf of those who need us most.

As an anchor institution serving the people of Michigan and beyond for more than 105 years, we know our mission is sacred. We are called to improve people’s lives. We do that by providing the highest quality of care to each and every individual we treat. But we also do it by investing in building stronger, healthier communities and advocating for those who struggle to be heard. We speak, not just for ourselves, but for every life we serve.

In his address on Tuesday night, our President stated that he hopes the outcome of the Chauvin trial will serve as a “giant step forward.” I could not agree more. Together, we move forward with renewed vigor, reminded of who we are as an organization – a beautifully diverse community, united around our common mission. But, hope will not be sufficient. It is only through action that this moment truly becomes the inflection point that results in a better America for our children and grandchildren.

We are for all,